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District outlines plan for middle school students on the move

COTTAGE GROVE — With changes to the school boundaries in District 833, all four principals of the district's middle schools have worked to find common ground.

During the May 10 school board meeting, the four principals — Cottage Grove Middle School's Elise Block, Lake Middle School's Molly Roeske, Oltman Middle School's Joni Hagebock and Woodbury Middle School's Kari Lopez — presented a look at the 2018-19 school year and how to provide consistent education for the students switching schools.

"We want to have a consistent educational opportunity for all 4,300 of our students," said Assistant Superintendent Mike Johnson. "The four principals worked closely together in the fall. We worked together for the betterment of all 4,300 kids,not just the 900-plus that are switching boundaries."

A total of 948 students will be moving to different middle schools in 2018-19 after realignment was approved in September.

The master schedule for 2018-19 will have an eight-period day and will have an advisory period. English/language arts and math courses are blocked for 1.5 periods, or 60 minutes. All other courses will be 40 minutes.

There will be four core subjects: English/language arts; math; science; and social studies. For secondary classes, sixth grade will offer: Music (choir, band or orchestra); physical education; art; Content Area Reading Strategies; critical thinking; and Middle School Success. Seventh grade will include: Music; physical education; Chinese or Spanish; STEM; computer applications and world cultures. Eighth grade will have health and college and career readiness as well as class choices for: Music, physical education, Chinese or Spanish, art; and STEM.

"Our teachers, when they came back from unpacking ... they were so happy to have a team that they knew they were teaching the same curriculum with the same outcomes and the same standards at the same time within the same grade level," Block said.

On May 29, the district will have a chance for students and families that are transitioning to visit the new school with a "Celebrate our Schools" day. Students will have a tour in the morning from 9-10 a.m., while students and families will have a meet-and-greet scheduled from 6-7 p.m.

"We want to make sure they have an opportunity to see their new environments and meet some of their new teachers and see where they're going to be next year," Hagebock said.

There will also be transition events in either August or September at each school, as well as a camp for upcoming sixth-grade students.

In other news ...

• The School Board approved Metro Sound and Lighting's bid to upgrade the district's theatrical wireless equipment at $294,166.

• The School Board approved a bid from Meisinger Construction Co., from South St. Paul, to work on additions and alterations at Nuevas Fronteras Elementary School. The bid was for $993,700.

• Meeting watch: Thursday's meeting lasted one hour, 26 minutes. School Board Treasurer Katie Schwartz was absent. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at the District Service Center.

— compiled by Joe Brown, regional editor